At the forefront of AI-powered innovation in the consumer sphere, Medallia is perfectly positioned to own the mantle of market leaders amid the rapid digitisation of the retail, hospitality, and financial sectors – to name but a few.
Establishing themselves as pioneers in experience management, the successful US company has been making its mark across the globe since 2001. Since then, the Medallia platform has been powering the decisions of thousands of big-name brands for just over two decades.
This success is the result of dedication to a unique approach for both structured and unstructured data collection – one that was borne out of recognising the importance of the fundamentals of feedback, while embracing a holistic approach to listening in conjunction with embedded analytics.
“The fundamentals of our solution are not uncommon. Like others, we focus on capturing customer information, analysing it, and serving it up in the places where people or systems can take action,” says Rachel Lane, Contact Centre Solution Principal for Medallia.
“Medallia captures experience signals created on daily journeys in person, on calls and digital channels; over video, social media and IoT interactions; and applies proprietary AI technology to reveal personalised and predictive insights that can drive action with tremendous business results.”
A desire to capture both passive and active forms of feedback – reaffirmed during the early coronavirus days, when interaction and communication became severely limited – has stimulated recent innovations that are more responsive to consumer behaviour. Add to this the fact that many websites were exposed as non-accessible for vast swathes of users during this same period, and it becomes clear why interactive, responsive and accessible applications became more in demand than ever.
Whilst this need to adapt may have been instigated by the pandemic, the mutable nature of technology and consumer expectations means that the company was already veering in this direction anyway, utilising digital platforms, phone calls, and social media to acquire feedback data; the pandemic merely shifted the markers slightly.
Defining a core ethos and approach
The key to successfully converting feedback into meaningful action is listening. But what exactly does it mean to listen and, more specifically, to listen well? This is exactly the same question the company asks of itself regularly, using the responses to define its strategy and approach.
“The richest customer signals are not in passive surveys but in the indirect and observational data they are sharing with you every day,” Lane says. “Over the past 2 years, we’ve added voice, video, and digital behaviour capabilities to our platform, helping businesses tap into the voice of the silent majority: those who don’t, and will never, take surveys.”
This recognition of ‘the silent majority’ helped shape the company’s holistic approach to listening, which began a decade ago. Back then, though, they were “pulling in social data and third party reviews” according to Lane; in 2021, however, a notable 80% of analysed experience signals were derived from data collected outside of traditional surveys. The dawn of a new era, of sorts, for the company.
“Predictive and prescriptive AI models take analysis a step further — beyond what manual analysis can do alone — to identify customers in need of attention and prescribe the next best action to take in order to improve loyalty, increase sales, and reduce churn,” affirms Lane, ushering in this new dawn enthusiastically.
Nevertheless, Lane acknowledges that insights alone are not enough.
“It’s about what you do with this information. We put consumable, role-specific actionable insights into the hands of the people that can influence experience in-the-moment.”
But it’s not just customer engagement that Medallia is passionate about; they also focus on employee engagement, too. When seeking and training employees specific to the financial sector, the insights Medallia collects can be used to up-skill and train agents on an individualised programme, with analytics helping to identify any skill or knowledge gaps and align outcomes with customer feedback.
“The contact centre for the financial services sector is in a critical place,” Lane says. “Due to the very nature of frontline agents in financial services enterprises, they are the most highly-trained agents in the contact centre world - typically taking up to 2 years to reach peak performance.”
Currently, the effectiveness of agents is reduced following the pandemic.
“The labour market for agents is already tight, with average attrition running at 40% prior to the pandemic,” Lane notes. “Now that there’s a flexible workforce model for contact centres, those that don’t embrace it are seeing agent attrition rising to as much as 100% per year, meaning that they’re not reaching peak performance, and new agents are struggling to find tenured role models with whom to home their skills.”
“Analytics is a frontline driver in uncovering agent skill gaps and, when enterprises bring employee engagement and customer engagement together, identifying opportunities to rapidly up-skill new agents, and identifying those high performers to fast track and empower, can deliver fantastic results.”
With a number of partnerships under its belt, the company prides itself on providing some of the best-loved brands with apps that are responsive and agile, incorporating AI-powered experience management systems that detect patterns, anticipate needs, and predict behaviour – all whilst recommending actionable suggestions. Medallia prefers to look at its partners as more than just that: they view them as an extension of its core team, building and expanding together.
“Our technology partners are a global ecosystem of best-in-class organisations making software products that work seamlessly with Medallia, extending the customer-needed functionality and capabilities to derive more value for customers in the Medallia platform,” asserts Lane.
The multi-tiered channel and reseller model Medallia provides is specifically moulded for organisations that want to sell Medallia products and solutions – as well as value-added services – to grow its business platforms, with Medallia achieving growth by proxy.
Innovation: the secret ingredient
Over the past few decades, there has been a notable upswing in the volume of fintech companies emerging. Known for ‘identifying product gaps, efficiency opportunities, and broken experiences for financial services to capitalise on’, such companies are renowned for their non-traditional approach to finance. This is a bonus for companies like Medallia, because it means the opportunity to build a partnership based on new ideas, risk-taking, and cutting-edge technology.
As such, many fintech companies have risen through the ranks relatively quickly, rapidly scaling up and engaging large numbers of consumers through the company’s recognition that data-driven feedback and insights are essential to their formula.
“Early in their evolution, they recognise that they need to leverage a constant stream of direct customer feedback and indirect customer data insights, in order to rapidly iterate on all aspects of their products, customer journeys, and the interactions they deliver in and across digital and contact centre channels,” says Lane.
Innovative systems and forward-thinking, responsive modes of engagement and management are what drive Medallia – the secret ingredients to its success – and this is where Medallia takes centre stage with its partners.
The company’s feedback management capabilities and surveys enable fintech companies – among others – to ‘capture the voice of customers and employees wherever and however they want’, creating a personal dialogue between the voice of the customer and the brand itself, and engaging with customers across all digital touchpoints.
Data, then, becomes a transformative tool through which Medallia’s corresponding autonomous systems can exert actionable change.
What’s on the horizon for Medallia
The near future is likely to continue the trends already flourishing across business technology, with cryptocurrency, the digitisation of systems, and the evolution of fintech leading the charge. But how is this likely to impact Medallia's future vision as a whole?
“Moving forward, we anticipate that Medallia will continue to partner with businesses from end-to-end across the financial industry,” explains Lane. “From traditional banks, to fintechs, to cryptocurrency businesses, Medallia is continuing to expand our portfolio and help organisations across financial services provide better customer and employee experiences.”
Following Medallia’s ESG Program launch in May 2021 – which specified its commitment and work so far towards having a global impact through the promotion of ethics and integrity, diversity and inclusion, environmental responsibility, and social impact – the company seeks to further enhance its environmental and social credentials for meaningful impact in future.
“As we continue to grow and adapt to a post-pandemic world, we hold a special interest in ensuring our new and existing spaces remain committed to preserving our global environment,” says Lane. “Our goal is to minimise our impact on the environment and conserve valuable resources when possible. We strive to pursue innovation that raises the bar, and we take responsibility for the impacts of our business.”
Medallia’s ultimate vision is to create a complete, connected experience platform. “Whether a customer is visiting a storefront, contacting support, navigating a website, or clicking a personalized ad, the future of VoC is about listening everywhere and making customers feel known across every interaction,” says Medallia CEO, Leslie Stretch. “Medallia helps companies deliver the cohesive and connected experiences that keep their customers coming back for more.”
An ambitious vision, indeed – though if any company looks certain to achieve it, you’d be best putting your money on the efforts of Medallia.